I thought I've done a pretty good job downplaying it, but this is totally set in the 80's.

I don't want to explicitly, deliberately say so though. I think it would be nice to slowly make things add up to it. Enough things like this and anyone with half a brain should be able to connect the dots. It's not that subtle.

Despite what dumb parties make people think nowadays, the 80's wasn't that crazy. Staci and I watch a lot of 80's TV* and we tend to make fun of how no one remembers what people actually wore in the 80's. Yeah, the fashion was bad, but not every single person dressed in what was absolutely in at any given second. It's fun to point out things that are totally 80's, because it's always the stuff that no one remembers or has thought about since. And a lot of the things that people do remember as 80's, was really more like early 90's (Saved by the Bell, for example).

(*currently she's rewatching Murder, She Wrote for probably the 4th or 5th time. And the A-Team is like mana for me. And the Golden Girls pretty much play on loop.)

Drawing Table Tuesday

Just scanned this. The border isn't final, it's just something I throw on real quick after I scan them (because the borders at this point are still blue). The real page is bordered with a pen.

Prepping Boards

Printed a bunch of boards the other day. Thought that gesture turned out pretty well for being drawn as small as it was, so I took a screen-cap of it.

Drawing Table Tuesday

This panel reminds me that I intend to go into a rant post about the rules people demand balloons follow. And how they tend to forget what "rules" the balloons in their favorite legendary comics completely ignored.

Akira and Dragonball are pretty good balloon examples. Half the time in Akira, none of the balloons even had tails, they were spoken off panel and were just a round balloon floating in the center. And Toriyama barely had tails at all, just the tiniest point in the direction of the mouth of whoever's speaking. I guess what I'm saying is I think it's funny that people seem to feel obligated to treat their audience like idiots.

This panel reminded me, because my first thought, according to everyone else, was that that tail isn't indicative enough to be able to tell who's saying what. I disagree. I mean, it's a panel with two people. Do they think that people are going to think the tree's talking?

Drawing Table Tuesday

I've been experimenting over the last few days trying to come up with a different way to tone pages. I've noticed there was... an inconsistent look I've seen in older comics (old reprints of things, like Akira). The tones were uneven... sort of scratchy. I've been thinking about how to incorporate that, as opposed to the even, uniform tones I've had till now.

And using software just takes too long. At least for a single person, and trying to keep everything analog. I just needed to switch what I was doing. I've been thinking about it forever and I finally got to it.

And there was a lot of trial and error. There was a lot I considered, and a lot of ideas, but I didn't know what would actually work well. The most important thing to me as that it was a real life process; I wanted to use software as little as possible.  I'm not anti-digital, I just prefer working in real life; I like the feel of the pen and pencil dragging across the paper.

I used a drawing I had sitting around because I didn't want to have to draw something new just for this.
The first thing I tried  was an ink wash on tracing paper. I was pretty sure that the paper would wrinkle pretty badly, but I wanted to give it a shot anyway on the off chance it worked. It's hard to make out in the photo above, but it actually warped enough to try to pull up the transparency below it that was taped to the desk. Even if the warping wasn't bad enough, toning the wash just didn't work- the ripples in the paper transferred to the tones (the tones were streaky).

There were 3 or 4 other tries after that with different materials, that were bad enough that I didn't even save the files, but eventually it came down to my backup plan.
I bought these copics, I don't know, maybe 7 years ago. I've always had them around, but never really used them much since I bought them. They were still good, none had dried out.

I had to test a bunch of different papers, but turns out the marker paper they make for alcohol markers really is the best paper to use alcohol markers on. This was sort of a quick proof of concept-

I had this printed on a photo printer (because inkjet printers can't print tones). That's at print size; that's exactly the size they print at in real life, not blown up or anything.

I plan to get better toning this way, but even not being used to it it's going to save so much time. I'm cutting 95% of the time-consuming computer work out by toning this way. And computer work was the least enjoyable part of this. And I got that uneven, scratchy look.

I think it adds a richness to the tones that they were lacking.


Finished tones. I've been thinking about switching the way making up a new way to tone pages. I need to find vellum tracing paper in rolls and see how bad the bleed through is for the process I have in mind. If it works, toning pages will go a lot faster.

But then again, I could be wrong and it's just as slow.

Pre-print Comic Book Webcomic

I'm going to start releasing this as a webcomic. A lot of things lead to this, and it seems like they all weighed equally into the final decision. I took a while to find a management service; I wanted something simple (uncomplicated, but mildly customizable), that I could set and forget, with simple functions on both ends (me uploading it, anyone else looking at it).

I'm sitting on a pretty large stack of finished pages that aren't going to see print for a while. (less and less I liked the idea of being on page , say, 150 without anyone really seeing the first page. I guess I sort of want to be able to prove I'm doing something.)

Nothing else has changed, the plan is still to print it as a single volume when it's finished.

I'll just be uploading a new page every Thursday. 

I feel like I got all of my bad drawing out, so after the first few dozen pages, the drawing gets pretty decent.

Drawing Table Tuesday

Toning pages at the moment. This is what the tones look like right after scanning, before they're really tones. I'll maybe post the same panel when I finish with this batch.

(Reverse) Talking Heads

There are a few places (I feel "scenes" would be acceptable) in this where I could've pushed talking heads waaaay more. (Talking heads are/is an easy trick, mostly for saving time, but they don't really add anything or enrich the story. And it also doesn't help you push your abilities.)

I think I accidentally managed to use reverse talking heads; people barely saying anything in (almost needlessly) elaborate panels. Well, elaborate for me. But I think panels like that can make you take more of a nice little pause. Especially if it's in a conversation where a natural pause would be.

It seems like that's something that few people do in mainstream monthly comics, at least, that aren't copied static panels.